Day 2 Coverage of Grand Prix Richmond

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The letter D!aylight Savings Time isn't going to stop us—we can run on little sleep. We were up late last night, and we'll be up early this morning. It ain't no thing. Richmond Virginia may be quiet on this Sunday morning, but the convention center is not. It's been bustling with judges, players, staff, and just about every Magic-oriented person within a couple hundred miles. The sun is just bristling over the horizon, and spells are already being slung.

There are quite a few undefeated players remaining: Ben Friedman, Andrew Calderon, Noah Walker, Zach Jesse, Jonathon Chappell, Patrick Dickmann, Daryl Ayers, Ian Ayal, Mario Martinez, Jeff Folinus, and William Aitken are all 9-0. Though only a few of these names are household, there are many pros lurking in the wings, still crushing dreams and aiming for that Top 8.

Eric Froehlich, Zvi Moshowitz, Christian Calcano, Josh Utter-Leyton, David Ochoa, Luis Scott-Vargas, and tons of others are all here. Players were able to avoid many of the pros during the first day because the top players were split among three different flights. But now all the pros have collapsed into the same pool and will likely shake up the standings as the day goes on. But only the rounds will tell the tales.

We've got lots of rounds of Modern Magic to play before the Top 8. Good morning from Virginia and let's do this.


  • Day 1 Undefeated Decklists

    by Adam Styborski

  • Patrick Dickmann - Tarmo-Twin
    Grand Prix Richmond - Modern Day 1 Undefeated

    William Aitken - Merfolk
    Grand Prix Richmond - Modern Day 1 Undefeated

    Ian Ayal - Merfolk
    Grand Prix Richmond - Modern Day 1 Undefeated

    Zach Jesse - Storm
    Grand Prix Richmond - Modern Day 1 Undefeated


  • Round 10 Feature Match - Ian Ayal (Merfolk) vs. Zach Jesse (Storm)

    by Marc Calderaro

  • Two of the undefeated players from the first day were Ian Ayal and Zach Jesse. Ayal hails from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, while Jesse is from "a few blocks away." The two chatted casually, despite the stress of being under the cameras and both hoping to keep their perfect records. They were both 9-0.

    "Do you play a lot?" Ayal asked.

    "I mean, as much as I can. I am in law school ... and I am also married." Jesse smiled.

    Ayal nodded. He understood perfectly.

    The matchup is an interesting one. Though Storm can usually win a straight-up race, a one-turn stumble from the Storm deck can allow the Merfolk to crash through with the big beats. And sometimes, the deck can aid in that stumble. Ayal calls Cursecatcher his favorite card in the match-up. And starting as early as turn one, or uncounterable thanks to Æther Vial on turn two, the lowly 1/1 can give Merfolk the one extra turn it needs. The Storm deck can be very tight on mana early on; one mana more can make all the difference.

    Then again, Storm could just combo off on the third turn regardless. Storm; I tell ya.

    Game One

    Zach Jesse started the party with a first-turn Faithless Looting, discarding Pyretic Ritual and Grapeshot. This pretty much revealed him as Storm to his opponent, if he didn't know already. Ian Ayal had practiced the Storm matchup, and knew what to expect.

    But when a second-turn Master of the Pearl Trident came down from Ayal, Jesse said, "Whaaaa?" He, on the other hand, had not practiced against Merfolk. He puzzled for a second, then whisked the Master away with a Lightning Bolt before untapping and laying the deck's marquee card, Pyromancer Ascension.

    Ayal resolved a few blue dudes over the next couple turns: Kira, Great Glass-Spinner, Merrow Reejerey, and Cosi's Trickster. Due to various pains, Jesse was already on 13 (with Ayal still at an unscathed 20). However, this was still a far cry from the 0 where Ayal would like Jesse to be, and Storm can combo at a moment's notice.

    After laying a second Pyromancer Ascension and adding a counter on his third turn, Jesse started the machine on his fourth turn, and "a moment's notice" happened. After adding the second counter to both Ascensions, he started to "go off" and began rifling through his deck. A few cards down, he initiated a little combo loop that amused Ayal greatly.

    Jesse cast Manamorphose, copying it twice thanks to the enchantment. He resolved the two copies, drawing two cards and making four mana (two blue, two red), then, with the original spell still on the stack, he cast Remand. The Ascension copied it twice. With the first copy, he countered the original Manamorphose and returned it to his hand (and drawing a card), and then with the second copy, he countered the original Remand, returning that to his hand and drawing him a card for his trouble. He was now four cards deeper, two mana richer, and had both spells back in his grip.

    "I can draw out my whole deck this way," Jesse said, trying to goad the concession out of his opponent. "I mean, I can go through it if you want." Though Ayal had practiced the match, he had not seen this interaction before. He was impressed, verified that everything was legit, and scooped up his cards.

    Zach Jesse 1 – 0 Ian Ayal

    Zach Jesse

    Though Jesse had one the first game, he was still flummoxed. "I can't fathom what the matchup is like; I actually have no idea," Jesse said as he leafed through his sideboard trying to figure out what to play. He put his elbow on the table and his hand to his forehead as he went over his potential options. He sideboarded in Empty the Warrens and kept in his Remands, but he was unsure of his decision. "Have fun and good luck," he said to Ayal.

    "Hope for a great game three?" Ayal posited.

    "Well, hopefully not."

    "Two Ascensions..." Ayal muttered with a smile on his face. He drew his cards for the second game. He was hoping it wouldn't be the last.

    Game Two

    On the play, it was Ayal's turn to set the pace. Æther Vial, Lord of Atlantis, Cursecatcher, and Kira, Great Glass-Spinner were Ayal's opening plays. Before he got the turn back for his fourth, he activated Æther Vial.

    "Activate Vial?"

    "Sure." Jesse said.

    "Ok, I got nothing. Hey, gotta do it, right?" Ayal untapped for his turn and Jesse erupted in laughter.

    "I love it!" Jesse clapped his hands together in amusement.

    "Not everybody does." With the Mutavault for the extra gets, Ayal quickly evaporated Jesse's life total—first to 15, and then, thanks to a mid-combat Merrow Reejerey, he hit for twelve the following combat to bring Jesse to 3. These Merfolk could bring the beats.

    With his opponent threatening to do very-much lethal the following turn, Jesse was forced to go off, whether he actually could or not. At the end of his opponent's turn, he sacrificed a Scalding Tarn to go to 2, then cast a Manamorphose to get one deeper and draw into something that could help him win.

    He untapped, drew, and saw he had no way out. He had a Pyromancer Ascension with no counters, and no way to activate it and go off in the same turn. He sat with all four Remands in his hand. This made him greatly question his sideboarding choices. He used a cycler in GitaxZach Probe to try, but it was to no avail.

    But rather than let the Merfolk gut him, Jesse was going to go out on his own terms. He made is land drop for the turn, Steam Vents, then declared, "I'll put it into play, untapped!" This stole the final two life from Jesse, and he scooped up his cards laughing. The act of seppuku did not go unnoticed and the crowd all enjoyed a laugh.

    "All right. The exciting game three I was hoping for," Ayal smiled.

    Zach Jesse 1 – Ian Ayal 1

    Ian Ayal

    Game Three

    This time Jesse was on the play again. Like game one, he cast a first-turn Faithless Looting and a second-turn Pyromancer Ascension. On his third turn he flashed back the one-mana sorcery and sculpted his hand more. Because Ayal had cast a Relic of Progenitus, activating the Ascension was going to be difficult, so Jesse hoped to audible. He discarded the Past in Flames to the second Looting, then planned to go for the Empty the Warrens kill with the storm card sitting in his hand. This would be difficult as Merfolk had a great ability to clog the ground.

    Ayal had a slower start (in part because of casting the Relic), but he put up some reasonable pressure. His first-turn Æther Vial helped him make Cursecatcher, Silvergill Adept, and Master of the Pearl Trident in addition to the Relic.

    Jesse made a Goblin Electromancer then tapped out to cast Pyretic Ritual. Ayal took the bait and sacrificed his Cursecatcher to make the instant cost one more. Jesse let that resolve and passed the turn. Cursecatcher did its job perfectly.

    After Ayal's attacks he passed the turn back to Jesse with a 8-20 life standing. Thanks to a post-combat Lord of Atlantis, it looked like again Jesse was given his final turn before he was ready. But he was going to try.

    With the Electromancer on the battlefield, he had some play left. Manamorphose made a mana and cycled; Serum Visions helped sculpt the top of the library; Desperate Ritual made some mana. Around this time Ayal removed Jesse's graveyard, denying him of any hopes of activating the Ascension.

    Now with three red mana and a Desperate Ritual alone in his graveyard, Jesse audibled again. It looked like an Empty the Warrens would really do the trick, but he had found Anger of the Gods and wiped the board clean. He replaced his Electromancer that he'd just subjected to God's anger, then passed.

    Though Ayal had to start from scratch, he had a full grip and an Æther Vial. Ayal used Vial to make a Merrow Reejerey, cast Lord of Atlantis (untapping a land, thanks, Reejerey!), then used Vapor Snag to return the Goblin Electromancer back to Jesse's hand. It was now Jesse's turn to start from scratch.

    But it was not to be. Game Two saw Jesse question his Remand sideboarding, and Game Three made him question the Empty the Warrens. Ian Ayal shows yet again the value of playing a deck that people haven't seen before.

    Ian Ayal 2 – 1 Zach Jesse

    Ian Ayal advances to 10-0!


  • Quick Hits – What is Your Best Sideboard Card?

    by Marc Calderaro

  • Eric Froehlich : Thoughtseize. It’s the most useful card against the most decks. You side it in against all control and all combo ... and a couple against some mid-range strategies.
    Gaudenis Vidugiris: Empty the Warrens. Because people are really bad at playing around it. Last round someone set Meddling Mage on Grapeshot, then I untapped and cast Empty the Warrens for 12.
    Zvi Moshowitz : Spellskite. So many decks, when they do their thing, need to target something. Boggles just folds ... and Twin can’t go off either if it’s in play.
    Josh Utter-Leyton : Thoughtseize. It’s universally good versus combo ... it forces uninteractive decks to interact with you.
    Josh Ravitz: Fulminator Mage. It’s used in the most matches; and even some places where you wouldn’t think. I side them in against both Living End and Affinity.
    Jamie Parke: Dispel #4 and Flame Slash #4. It's boring, but the extra copies are important. Flame Slash takes out Tarmogoyf even when Lightning Bolt doesn't ... and the extra one-mana counterspell is key against all the control decks.


  • Sunday, 12:30 p.m. – Day 2 Metagame Breakdown

    by Adam Styborski

  • Classifying 443 decks takes some time, but I'm sure you think it was worth it.

    Making Day 2 of the largest Constructed Grand Prix in history was no easy feat. Each of the three flights was as large as many Grand Prix themselves, and the diversity of facing anything means getting to the magic two losses or less line was a fight from start to finish. At the start od today this is what the field looked like:

    Archetype % of Field
    Affinity 13.54%
    Melira Pod 10.38%
    Storm 5.64%
    Jund 5.19%
    Merfolk 4.74%
    WUR Control 4.29%
    GB Obliterator Rock 4.06%
    UR Twin 4.06%
    Tarmo-Twin 4.06%
    WUR Midrange 3.61%
    Hexproof Auras 3.39%
    Big Zoo 3.16%
    GB Rock 3.16%
    Burn 2.93%
    RG Tron 2.93%
    Kiki Pod 2.26%
    WUR Twin 2.26%
    Ad Nauseam 2.03%
    Living End 2.03%
    Little Zoo 1.81%
    Scapeshift 1.58%
    8 Rax 1.35%
    Infect 1.35%
    WB Tokens 1.13%
    4-Color Gifts 0.90%
    UB Faeries 0.90%
    Death and Taxes 0.68%
    Soul Sisters 0.68%
    UR Delver 0.68%
    WG Aggro 0.68%
    Blue Moon 0.45%
    Junk 0.45%
    Mono-Black 0.90%
    Tin Fins (Reanimator) 0.45%
    4-Color Zoo 0.23%
    Dedgevine 0.23%
    Domain Zoo 0.23%
    Egg-Tron 0.23%
    Elves 0.23%
    Esper Mill 0.23%
    Goblins 0.23%
    Grixis Control 0.23%
    Mono-Red Control 0.23%
    WUR Delver 0.23%

    Affinity, clocking in at sixty players, was a somewhat surprising find but the uptick in Melira Pod and Storm and the surge of Tarmo-Twin after their high-profile finishes at Pro Tour Born of the Gods was a reassuring reflection. Shaun McLaren's victory with WUR Control may have influenced adopters of it's more aggressive WUR Midrange flavor, and combined the two WUR decks represent 8% of the metagame, a firm fourth overall.

    What was third? The combined forces of all flavors of Splinter Twin decks – Tarmo-Twin, WUR Twin, and UR Twin – equaled Melira Pod alone. For Pod, tacking Kiki Pod onto Melira Pod yielded 12.6% of Day 2 and still just shy of Affinity.

    The two flavors of GB Rock – the one with and the one without Phyrexian Obliterator – combined for fifth overall at 7.2%. Rounding out the top ten archetypes were Storm at sixth edging out Jund, Zoo (all flavors combined), Merfolk, and Hexproof Auras.

    Top 10 Archytpes  
    Affinity 13.54%
    Pod 12.64%
    Twin 10.38%
    WUR 7.90%
    GB Rock 7.22%
    Storm 5.64%
    Jund 5.19%
    Zoo 5.19%
    Merfolk 4.74%
    Hexproof Auras 3.39%

    After those ten groups the percentages start to get too small to really look at, but as a cross-section of diversity for an Eternal format it works well. "Classical" strategies like Burn to more modern inventions like Living End, Scapeshift, RG Tron, WB Tokens, and Gifts Ungiven decks all made it to Day 2. There was even two non-Merfolk tribal decks – Goblins and Elves – on the roster.

    Undefeated Day 1 Decks

    Looking at the Day 1 undefeated decks with respect to the metagame breakdown reveals some interesting twists. Two Scapeshift players went perfect, but there were only seven total to make it to Day 2. One Kiki Pod players was also perfect, but just ten managed to return today.

    Day 1 Undefeated    
    Archetype Undefeated Day 2 Total
    Melira Pod 3 46
    Merfolk 2 21
    Scapeshift 2 7
    Jund 1 23
    Kiki Pod 1 10
    Tarmo-Twin 1 17
    Storm 1 25
    GB Obliterator Rock 1 18

    From this angle it looks like Scapeshift was well-positioned against the field, but more data would be needed to know for certain. (Both Scapeshift and Merfolk were the last undefeated decks going into Round 13.) Something else that's interesting is the most represented deck in Day 2 – Affinity – isn't among the undefeated. There was at least one vying for that right in Round 9.

    It's still an open field for Top 8 contention, and three more rounds are needed until the dust settles.


  • Sunday, 1:30 p.m. – Deck Tech – Mono-Red Control with Davis Merced

    by Marc Calderaro

  • It's not often you do a deck tech with someone who just earned their third loss; but's it's also not often that you run into Mono-Red Control in Modern. Chicago native Davis Merced lost in Round 13 to Luis Scott-Vargas. And LSV conceded that it was a pretty close match. Though this deck might not have been perfect for this particular Modern field, its stellar Day 1 record and ability to finish near the top of the standings at a 4,300-person tournament merits accolades.

    Modern is an open format; you can basically do anything. When I sat down with Davis the first thing I asked was why he played this particular deck. And his response echoed what we've been saying about Modern this whole season: "Play what you know." Merced smiled and shrugged after he said it. Merced loves playing Mountains, and he does so consistently. In Standard he plays Mono-Red Devotion, and in Legacy he plays Mono-Red Sneak Attack. "Also, I didn't feel like racing against Zoo and Affinity all day."

    Davis Merced

    Davis explained the origin of this particular build: "Last season I played a more aggressive version of this with Figure of Destiny and Kargan Dragonlord ... then about a month ago I saw Caleb Durward's Modern brew contest video and he played a version of this deck." Davis swapped around some cards, played more to his own strengths, then voila! Mono-Red Control is a competitor.

    "Blood Moon.dec is my favorite deck," he said, so why not play six of them? (He plays a couple Magus of the Moon as well.) The deck ends up playing like the Blue Moon deck from Pro Tour Born of the Gods, but with a much faster finish. "Koth of the Hammer, Thundermaw Hellkite, and Boros Reckoner end the game real quick." You might question how the 3/3 actually ends a game, but as Davis extolled, one or two Skred pointed at the Reckoner can often deal all the damage to an opponent you need (after you redirect the damage, of course).

    As you may have guessed after reading Skred, the deck has a very simple mana base: 21 Snow-Covered Mountains and 2 Scrying Sheets. That's the first time I've seen Scrying Sheets break into Modern. Much like Blue Moon, it keeps its land simple so that it doesn't manascrew itself with a Blood Moon. "Sometimes Blood Moon just gets concessions. I played a turn-one Magus of the Moon against Infect, and, well, that was the game." Merced shrugged and chuckled. Though that hand required both Simian Spirit Guides, he said he's still looking for cuts to fit the last two.

    For the particular match-ups, the aggro decks are in your favor. With tons of removal, main deck Pyroclasm and Volcanic Fallout, and sideboard Blasphemous Act and Anger of the Gods it's generally a blow out. And with the Fallout, "you can do some funny things in combat with a Boros Reckoner in play."

    The control match has some good play too because you have a higher threat density, and your threats are bigger and faster than theirs. "Scrying Sheets is really good against control." With the land and the Chandra, Pyromaster creating some much-needed card advantage for the red deck, it can still go toe-to-toe against the blue players.

    Davis Merced

    As far as combo decks go, most of the matches are good. "Main deck Relic of Progenitus makes a big difference ... and Combust really helps against Twin." The artifact is also assistance against Pod decks, ensuring that Murderous Redcap and Kitchen Finks don't return. He admits that the big weakness of the deck is Storm—which is not a great deck to be stone-cold to in the current metagame. "The matchups like 80/20, in their favor." But he continued that the Relics mean you aren't just dead game one; you just have to run a little hot. But he beat Storm today, and with flourishing style: "I just Skredded him out." Near the end of the day here, Storm has been dying out a bit, so we'll see what lasting metagame impact it maintains.

    One of my favorite aspects of the deck is the speed of the end game. Maybe your Blood Moon doesn't do great (like against straight blue-red versions of Twin), but if Plan A doesn't work, Plan B of attacking with giant, hasty monsters can still get you out of jams. Where Blue Moon closes games out in inches, this deck does it in miles.

    About any potential changes he would've made in the deck, Davis said, "I would've liked to sneak in some more Anger of the Gods ... and Batterskull has done basically nothing," (although he admitted a Zoo deck just scooped to it when a Goblin Guide revealed it on the top of Merced's library). Other than those choices, he's really happy with how the deck played, and would play it again in a heartbeat.

    "I get to play all of my favorite cards, Koths & Bolts!"

    If you're looking for a great, inexpensive deck that will take your FNM by surprise, look no further than this. And if you're looking for a deck name, I think you can do worse than "Koths & Bolts."

    Davis Merced – Mono Red Control
    Grand Prix Richmond - Modern


  • Round 13 Feature Match - William Aitken (Merfolk) vs. Andrew Calderon (Scapeshift)

    by Adam Styborski

  • And then there were two.

    William Aitken and his Merfolk had been swimming past every undefeated opponent he faced. Packed with "lord" creatures such as Merfolk Reejerey and Lord of Atlantis, and backed up by Æther Vial and counterspells, the ability of blue's tribe to attack well had rewarded Aitken all weekend.

    Across from him sat Andrew Calderon, the pilot of the other remaining undefeated deck: Scapeshift. While the exact builds can vary, Calderon's method used removal and counterspells to sculpt the course of the game before reshaping the battlefield for victory.

    The right to remain undefeated with just two rounds left wasn't just positioning for a Top 8 run: Ensuring no more than two losses could come also meant the winner of the match qualified for Pro Tour Journey into Nyx, thanks to the oversized nature of Grand Prix Richmond.

    To the victor go the spoils.

    In the first game, Aitken hit a slow start after Calderon countered Æther Vial and a pair of lords that followed. While a solitary Lord of Atlantis kept attacking him Calderon had time to set up and meter his removal accordingly, including using Snapcaster Mage for a well-timed Lightning Bolt on Mutavault to keep Aitken light on mana and creatures. Despite using Remand and Electrolyze multiple times, none of the cards seen had been Scapeshift.

    Calderon's removal and counterspells kept his opponent off his plan.

    It took Peer Through the Depths to get the job done.

    "Alright. Show me the Mountains," Aitken said.

    Calderon counted out four from his library, then played the fifth from his hand. The balance of the 20 damage needed had already come from a Sakura-Tribe Elder attacking for several turns. Both players chatted as they shuffled for the next game.

    "That Æther Vial I drew late was really awkward. I just didn't have it early enough to matter," Aitken said.

    "I was really happy I countered that the first time," Calderon admitted, referring to his first play of the game.

    "Yeah, the whole time I'm drawing I was just thinking I could really use a Cavern of Souls," Aitken said. Multiple Remands and Cryptic Commands prevented Aitken from applying pressure earlier.

    Pressure wasn't available for Aitken in the second game either. Though he led off with an Æther Vial, Calderon had an immediate Ancient Grudge to answer it. Thassa, God of the Sea helped smooth Aitken draw steps, but he spent turn after turn not casting Merfolk. Calderon played Obstinate Baloth, which nudged Aitken to play out Lord of Atlantis and Master of Waves. Volcanic Fallout cleared away most of the battlefield, and Calderon's Snapcaster Mage was ready to flash it back for Aitken's second Master of Waves.

    Aitken's Merfolk floundered against Calderon's Obstinate Baloth.

    When Calderon went for Scapeshift on the next turn Aitken used Spell Pierce and Swan Song to stop it, but it left Calderon with 6 power of offense for Aitken's 4 life. Sacrificing both his Mutavaults saved Aitken a turn, but ensuring Obstinate Baloth died required a second Swan Song to stop Calderon's Cryptic Command.

    Two birds hung in the air as Aitken untapped with just 2 life.

    "Let's scry!" Aitken said as he looked at his card before placing it on the bottom of his library. He draw his turn's with a flourish, then grimaced. "Augh... man."

    His handed extended to Calderon.

    "You didn't get a lot of combat steps," Calderon said. Aitken just shook his head.

    "Obstinate Baloth. I like that. Scapeshift's tough for me. It might have been a mistake keeping that hand," Aitken said.

    "Yeah, it seemed really slow."

    "Three Swan Songs just seemed strong..." Aitken started

    "...but with all the Birds I could just burn you out from there. I was pretty set to go with that slow start." Calderon finished.

    With his 13-0 record to his name there's one question many of us wanted the answer to: Why Scapeshift?

    "The deck I was planning on before the new banned list was a Domain deck. I did well with it in other tournaments, but when they banned Deathrite Shaman I tried it without it and it didn't work. The deck I played most after that was Scapeshift. I'm very comfortable with it."

    Did you prepare a lot for Richmond?

    "I almost didn't make it but it worked out at the last minute. Thanks to Magic Online I've played against almost every deck. I know what people are going to try and do. I know what I'm doing with my deck. You have your bad much ups and I guess I'm lucky I didn't face any of my worst match ups: Hexproof Auras is really bad for me."

    What next? Will you try to play out the next two rounds?

    "I remember when LSV went undefeated at an old Extended tournament so I'd like to see if I can at least match it. I'm running very well; no point in messing with success. Of course, if I lose the next round I'll draw in. That's just being realistic."

    William Aitken - Merfolk
    Grand Prix Richmond - Modern Day 1 Undefeated


  • Sunday, 3:00 p.m. – Super Sunday Series, the Second Grand Prix of Weekend

    by Marc Calderaro

  • Many of us know the heartbreak of losing that last round of A Grand Prix Day 1 to not be invited back Sunday. I mean, not Huey Jensen, because he never loses; and not me, because I'm terrible—but many of you do. If you carpooled with some dirty misers who are competing in Day Two, what is a player to do? Well, that player was in mind during the creation of the Super Sunday Series. Hosted on Grand Prix Sundays across the world, the Super Sunday Series allows every heartbroken player to get a second chance at glory.

    Unlike the Grand Prix, the Super Sunday Series does not feed into the Pro Tour point system, but if you win it qualifies you for the Super Sunday Series Championship. Once a year, every qualified player takes a trip to the Wizards of the Coast headquarters in Washington state and competes for a hearty prize pool. The first-ever championship was held last month (read and watch the coverage here). The competitors had such a great time, a third of them said they would rather qualify for this again than a Pro Tour. They got to tour the Wizards of the Coast headquarters and hobnob all day, and at exclusive dinners, with many R&D members. It's pretty awesome.

    So how do you qualify? The Super Sunday Series is run as two concurrent tournaments, either Sealed or Standard—pick your poison. Then the top four players from both tournaments create the Top 8 draft pod. The winner of that pod has earned an invite (and the bragging rights over the carpooling buddy who completely scrubbed out of Grand Prix Day Two).

    But what if you don't win? I'm glad I asked myself that question. Though the individual prize support is left to the Grand Prix tournament organizer, Wizards provides each organizer with a bevy of prizes for side events, and here, Star City Games has funneled some great goodies here while adding some cool prizes of their own.

    Uncut Foil Sheets modeled by Bruce Mills

    Players who finish in the top four of either the Sealed or Standard tournament can win prizes like uncut foil sheets of various contemporary expansion sets, the Planeswalker gift box sold exclusively at the San Diego Comic Con, original art for both Spectral Lynx and Phantom Centaur, and complete sets of Born of the Gods.

    Planeswalker gift box, again modeled by the wonderful Bruce Mills

    These Super Sunday Series tournaments have been huge draws and I can understand why. Who wouldn't want these fabulous prizes and a chance to take a trip to the Magic motherland? The tournament will be going late into tonight (and likely later than the 4,300-player Grand Prix) and will crown one competitor victory, and seven others happy campers.

    So next time your deck that uses Lantern of Insight doesn't quite get there on the first day, check out the Super Sunday Series earn back that cred.

    (PS – The Lantern of Insight deck, called Top Control, is actually one of the most fun decks around. No actual slight intended to its pilots this weekend; really I just wanted to give it some press.)

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